[W]e have seen that the legal rules governing the drug war ensure that extraordinary numbers of people will be swept into the criminal justice system — arrested on drug charges, often for very minor offenses. But what happens after arrest? How does the design of the system help to ensure the creation of a massive undercaste?
Once arrested, one’s chances of ever being truly free of the system of control are slim, often to the vanishing point. Defendants are typically denied meaningful legal representation, pressured by the threat of a lengthy sentence into a plea bargain, and then placed under formal control — in prison or jail, on probation or parole. Most Americans probably have no idea how common it is for people to be convicted without ever having the benefit of legal representation, or how many people plead guilty to crimes they did not commit because of fear of mandatory [minimum] sentences.
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Please READ THIS BOOK. It is so important to understand this issue, which is swept under the rug and so difficult to combat.(via writersbump)
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